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Publication of complex dataset
  1. E H Walters
  1. Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Tasmania Medical School, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia; haydn.walters{at}utas.edu.au

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In the April 2002 issue of Thorax we published a paper on airway inflammation, basement membrane thickening and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in asthma.1 In this study we examined the effects over 12 months of inhaled corticosteroid therapy on reticular basement membrane thickening in asthmatic airways and how this may influence airway hyperresponsiveness.

Shortly before, at the end of 2001, we also published a paper in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine2 which dealt with the baseline data on reticular basement membrane thickness for the same group of patients. The analysis dealt with the relationship between reticular basement membrane thickness, fixed airflow limitation, and a novel test of airway distensibility.

The existence of the respective papers was made clear to and discussed with the respective editors during each editorial process. The review process was long and exhaustive, continuing over many months. Mainly because of the temporal overlap of the two review processes, the paper in the American journal is not referenced in the Thorax paper.

Because of the increased sensitivity about potential for duplicate publication,3,4 we wish to make clear to the Thorax readership the existence of the two papers from the same study, although the overlap between them is small and explicit, and the analyses contained within each quite distinct. With hindsight, the joint source of these data should have been acknowledged in the published paper.

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